One......brown shrimp from one of our eel traps on the dock this morning......which bodes well for there being plenty of bait come tomorrow ( June 1st. ) when we can legally toss for them in the river again.
Number two......yes....I know.....only mullet.....but.....if the brine, and the butter and the salt and the pepper and the smoke all do as they should they'll no longer be "only mullet".
Sinking catfish food and 5 tosses of the net. Kept 17 big ones and threw back at least that many smaller ones.
After splitting soak in a brine overnight. We use a cooler with a bag of ice or a couple of frozen jugs to keep the brine cold. When you take them out to smoke rinse just a moment and then let them dry off some.
Some folks like to split the head but I take it off. Just do so way up high, past the the pectoral fins so that the body cavity will hold the butter/fat for rebasting.
Those were done very basic. Melted butter with a good bit of coarse ground pepper basted on them to start and then a couple of more times during the smoking. You'll note liquid collecting in the belly area after they've cooked a while. Baste that back up on the fish too.
Smoker at 200-225......about half oak and half cherry is what got used for them. Have used hickory but it can get a bit harsh if you use to much.
Those went 4+ hours. Longer at the lower heat end is better than shorter at a higher heat.
It's really that simple. Do note, as they are already brined DO NOT add more salt. They're actually cooked enough to eat long before we take them off.......but time equals flavor.
Good as those were they're even better if out of saltwater because they feed on different things which gives them better flavor.